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Charleroi man ducks child sex charges

| Thursday, July 25, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Despite wearing an orange jail jumpsuit and handcuffs, Jonathan McDonough entered Washington County Central Court on Wednesday flashing a broad smile.

The 39-year-old Charleroi man left the court a free man after the victim, 5, of an alleged sexual assault was unable to testify against him.

McDonough had faced felony counts of indeviate sexual intercourse with a person less than 16 years old, contact/communication with a minor/sexual offenses, and aggravated indecent assault of a person less than 13 years old.

He had faced misdemeanor charges of indecent assault of a person less than 13 years old and corruption of minors.

Accused of assaulting the 5-year-old girl, McDonough had been in lodged in the Washington County Correctional Facility in lieu of $100,000 straight cash bond since being arraigned last month before Magisterial District Judge Joshua Kanalis in Centerville.

Charleroi Regional Police charged McDonough after being called to Monongahela Valley Hospital in CarrollTownship, where the girl's mother took the child after learning of the alleged incident.

According to an affidavit of probable cause, the girl told police she awakened to find McDonough assaulting her. The incident allegedly occurred June 15-16.

“It's not that the commonwealth does not find her believable,” Washington County Assistant District Attorney Kristen Clingerman said of the girl. “But because of her immature age, she is unable to take the stand and testify.”

As McDonough waited for Clingerman to arrive in court, he sat at the defense table shaking his head no for awhile.

Raising his shackled wrists, McDonough turned to a Washington County Children & Youth Services employee and said, “Sorry to see you in this capacity. I need someone like you to keep me on the straight and narrow.”

Asked by Magisterial District Judge Jay Weller if he had a job, McDonough said he has worked at Wendy's for seven years and has not abused alcohol or drugs for eight years.

“I got clean for my kids,” McDonough told the judge.

Weller asked McDonough if he had been in jail since his arrest June 23. McDonough replied, ‘yes.”

“Is that enough?” Weller asked.

“Yes,” McDonough said.

“Well, hopefully today you go home,” Weller said.

Weller asked McDonough if the recent arrest was his first.

“No, unfortunately not,” McDonough said.

“Hopefully, this will be your last,” Weller said.

“I'm hoping so,” McDonough said. “I had no intention of coming here in the first place.”

But Wednesday's court appearance might not be the last for McDonough.

He still faces charges in Fayette County for the alleged sexual assault of a woman in Washington Township.

He is charged with indecent assault and harassment in that case.

Charges of rape, aggravated indecent assault, corruption of minors, endangering the welfare of children, indeviate sexual intercourse-forcible compulsion, and sexual assault were dismissed during an Oct. 12 hearing before Magisterial District Judge Jesse Cramer in Belle Vernon.

McDonough rejected a plea offer by the Fayette County District Attorney's office on April 30, according to court records. A trial is scheduled Aug. 5.

Chris Buckley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2642 or cbuckley@tribweb.com.

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